FAQs

Here are frequently asked questions that we get from time to time from citizens like yourself.

Before 2010, there was no strategic vision at the state level for passenger rail service to move people between cities in Texas.

We now have a dedicated Rail Division at the Texas Department of Transportation and legislation including the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund that enables us to move forward.

We need to use our resources wisely to roll out a sensible plan that will offer frequent and dependable service to give Texans a transportation choice.

Surveys show that a majority of Texans want rail service between our cities. Our elected officials have not made this a priority.

This is a safety requirement that is mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration. It warns motorists and pedestrians of oncoming trains.

Changes in the law now allow for “quiet zones” that prevent vehicles from driving onto tracks when a train approaches. Unless there is imminent danger, train horns do not need to sound in Quiet Zones.

Quiet zones require local funding so check with your city or town for more information on their progress to establish Quiet Zones.

All forms of transportation are subsidized but you just don’t hear about it.

You, as a taxpayer, fund about 1/2 of all road construction out of your tax dollars and your gas pump taxes barely pay for the other 1/2.

You, as a taxpayer, also pay for airport infrastructure, waterways and a host of other transportation projects.

For some reason, we think passenger rail service must make a “profit” when our interstate highways don’t. If used wisely, transportation tax dollars at the federal and state level, give you the transportation choices you want to use. Rail is one of the transportation components that gives you a travel choice.

For quite a few years the Texas Railroad Commission has not had any jurisdiction over railway issues but our state legislature just loves the historic name. Legislative attempts to change the name have not been successful.

The Railroad Commission’s primary responsibility deals with the oil and gas industry and related matters.

All state railroad matters (freight and passenger) are now handled by the Rail Division at the Texas Department of Transportation.

Rail Safety and Rail Highway (Crossings)(512) 416-2376
Rail System (Planning)(512) 486-5127

It is a constitutional amendment that Texas voters passed in November 2005. Texas Proposition 1, also known as the Texas Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund, was on the November 8, 2005 election ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

HJR 54 created a Texas rail relocation and improvement fund in the state treasury and authorized grants of state revenue and issuance of public debt to relocate, rehabilitate, and expand privately and publicly owned passenger and freight rail facilities and to construct railroad underpasses and overpasses.

  • 2007 Legislative session    $0.00 allocated for RRIF
  • 2009 Legislative session    $0.00 allocated for RRIF
  • 2011 Legislative session     $0.00 allocated for RRIF
  • 2013 Legislative session     $0.00 allocated for RRIF
  • 2015 Legislative session     $0.00 allocated for RRIF

Railroad crossings that have flashing lights or gates have a national crossing inventory number posted on a sign near the crossing or on a railroad building at the crossing. To report a signal activation problem (lights flashing no train, gates down no train), please refer to the 1-800-NUMBER posted on the crossing warning device or contact the local police department. It is very important that callers properly identify the crossing involved, and if possible, provide the national crossing inventory number posted at the crossing to the dispatcher.

Any issue or incident that risks the safety of any person should be reported immediately. Be prepared to tell your name, location and what you observed.

These are considered railroad emergencies:

  • Crossing Malfunction: Any gate or signal issues
  • Blocked Track: Car or object on the tracks
  • Crossing Accident: Auto or train/auto accident at a crossing
  • Environmental-Hazmat Emergency: Hazmat release
  • Theft/Vandalism: Report theft or vandalism on railroad property
  • Trespassing: Report trespassing on railroad property
  • Blocked Crossing: Currently Blocked: Train currently blocking a crossing for an extended period
Director(512) 486-5230
Rail Safety and Rail Highway (Crossings)(512) 416-2376
Rail System (Planning)(512) 486-5127
Physical Address
118 E. Riverside Drive
Austin, TX 78704
Mailing Address
125 E. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78701-2483